I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Calling all Catholic school teachers and youth ministers...

Finished a good, timely read on Saturday - Room 24 by Katie Prejean. What stuck out to me most about this book were the quotes and anecdotes by her students as well as her own thoughts about ministering (in a school setting) to teens and young adults. For almost the entirety of the book my head and heart were screaming "me too!" 

Trust me, if you work with teenagers in a Catholic school or youth ministry setting, you should get your hands on this - it's poignant and hysterical at the same time. And it's a quick read so you can read a few pages here and there between grading and lesson planning...

Here are some of my favorite parts:

"To teach Jesus is to conform ourselves, and help to form others, into 'little Christs' who go out and share the Good News. People are not easily transformed by ideas and concepts alone. They are far more often transformed by other people." (p. 23)

"When we constrict ourselves to scheduled teaching on its own rather than actively living what we believe, we can become blathering drones losing sight of the greater mission." (p. 78)

"As humble evangelizers, we should be pointing not to ourselves but to Christ. This is humility in its most concentrated form. We seek not to advance ourselves but to advance the work of the Lord." (p. 108) <-- There are lots of opportunity for humility as a middle school teacher. This was a good reminder. Kids have a way of making sure you don't stay too proud of anything... (Check out the Litany of Humility, which the author explains kept popping up when she needed it the most. It's a good one.)

"Student: I'm only fourteen, Miss P. As of right now, my life plan is just to get to heaven." (p. 127)

"My mom used to say that being a teacher was the hardest job in the world, not because the pay was low or the kids were bad but because at the end of the school year you'd have to say goodbye and you never knew how they would turn out." (P. 128) <-- This quote probably hit home the most, especially as many of us teachers are preparing for graduations.

Katie Prejean also talks a lot about how her students always notice far more than she ever realizes. Similar realizations have occurred in my classroom this year too, most recently on Friday, when, upon going outside to return a student's fruit snacks that I had confiscated during class (Could he have picked a quieter packaging choice to try to sneak in?), a group of 8th grade girls stopped me and said, "I really like your outfit today. I noticed it in class and meant to tell you." Well, if that don't beat all - I tell people that you really know you've "made it" in terms of fashion when you get complimented by an 8th grade girl. (They're usually so hard to please in that department!)

All kidding aside, the book reminded me that the whole teaching about God thing is more than one person's job. I may not see the effects of anything take hold while the students remain in my care, but I have to hope and believe that somewhere down the line at least one thing we studied or learned or prayed about will sink in.

For all those who teach (especially at the middle and high school level), keep doing an amazing job! You're planting seeds - scatter them abundantly for you never know where or when they'll blossom...

P.S. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all moms, moms-to-be, and women who seem/act like moms! It was a beautiful weekend (weather-wise) for all those who were out and about brunching and celebrating. Spring has sprung in Chicago!

1 comment:

  1. "Say Ice cream."
    "Ice cream, but I don't sing."
    "Talk then- down here."
    "Ice. Cream." ;)